Boeing "797" aircraft: revolutionary mid-range jet can have a wider and more spacious cabin

2021-12-14 23:33:36 By : Mr. Tiger Wang

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Look at reducing the 15-day construction time of Qantas’ first Boeing 787 Dreamliner to just two minutes. Video: Boeing

Boeing is seeking to rewrite the rules for manufacturing commercial jets because it is developing a plan for a new medium-range aircraft nicknamed 797.

For decades, Boeing has been pushing its aircraft to fly farther. The company's last new jetliner, the 787 Dreamliner, has opened nearly 200 direct routes (including the first direct route between Australia and London). The 777X will be the first twin-engine jet aircraft designed to transport more than 400 passengers across half of the earth.

Passengers will cheer for the more spacious dual-aisle cabins and the unique fuselage that is wider than taller.

But for its next aircraft, Boeing plans to abolish its ambitions for the voyage and instead create an aircraft tailored for an 8- to 10-hour flight from Chicago to Central Europe, for example. Since the Berlin Wall was erected and the company's 757 and 767 were establishing new transatlantic connections, the market has not been considered a frontier market. Recently, Airbus has gradually entered a niche market by expanding the range of its popular single-aisle jet airliner A321neo.

The so-called revolutionary 797 is that Boeing does not want to get a lot of money from manufacturing and selling the aircraft, but wants to keep it in the air. The mid-market family will be the first Boeing aircraft, designed to make money for the world's largest aircraft manufacturer long after the point of sale.

Stan Deal, head of Boeing's new global services division, said that the initial purchase of jets accounted for about 30% of the operating life cost of the aircraft. In the next few decades, gaining a larger share of the remaining 70% in service and maintenance is a lucrative opportunity for Boeing-and can buffer down cycles when aircraft sales are stagnant.

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This is why Deal, whose division focuses on keeping aircraft flying, from selling spare parts to arranging crews, is deeply involved in creating a business case for what the company calls "NMA" for new mid-market aircraft. If Boeing wins a $16 billion (A$22 billion) military trainer contract, he also plans to sell spare parts in a few decades.

Deere said that every other day he spoke with Leanne Caret, head of Boeing’s defense operations, and Kevin McAllister, head of commercial aircraft, who ultimately was in charge of the 797.

"This is really an effort within Boeing to launch one of them," Deere said before the Farnborough Airshow outside London. The NMA team is "highly integrated, with representatives from my team and Kevin, as well as strong functional representatives from engineering, manufacturing, and supply chain."

For the third year in a row, the 797-an aircraft that does not yet exist and still needs Boeing board approval-will discuss sales, strategy, and supplier pressure at this week's largest trade fair in the aerospace industry. Boeing is considering designing a series of dual jets with 220 to 270 seats for medium-range routes.

The intensity of the plan highlights the difficulty of forecasting the sales of aircraft parts that Boeing does not produce today into the next few decades. Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg told reporters on Sunday that he would not formally decide whether to proceed until next year. The aircraft manufacturer is now laying the groundwork for bringing the first aircraft to market in 2025, provided that the directors have signed a business case, which is a relatively fast turnaround time for this complex machine.

Now, aircraft flying on these 5000 nautical miles (9,200 kilometers) routes are usually outdated and too heavy, or modern, but their engines and wings are designed to cruise for 14 hours or more like a Dreamliner. Although airlines will see the 797’s operating costs plummet, Boeing’s theory believes that passengers will cheer for the more spacious dual-aisle cabins and the unique fuselage that is wider than taller.

The Chicago-based manufacturer plans to use many of the cutting-edge systems it pioneered on the 787 to reduce risk while introducing its innovations into the design and production of aircraft.

Carter Copeland, an analyst at Melius Research, said that Boeing and Airbus believe that they can cut costs by about a third through new digital tools to predict how aircraft will be built and how they will fly. NMA will test these theories, and Boeing has already tested some concepts on new aircraft projects such as the 777X and TX trainer aircraft.

Muilenburg believes in the power of data. Boeing is investing in building an information backbone that spans the life cycle of an aircraft: from engineers honing the design, to tools that turn it into reality, to sensors that continuously transmit data to Deal's team while in flight.

"This may be the biggest change our company is going through," Muilenburg said.

There is another reason to pay attention to the life cycle profits of brand-new aircraft: it will be difficult to make money from the fresh models that leave the factory. The airline hopes that the pricing will be the same as that of the aircraft already on the market, such as Airbus’s A321neo.

The challenge is to reduce manufacturing costs to the point where Boeing can collect a profit of $70 million or less that major customers are willing to pay. The manufacturing cost of dual-aisle aircraft has never been so low. If Boeing misjudged the number of savings, the 797 could lose cash. The Dreamliner should also be a low-cost wide-body aircraft, but Boeing lost money on this aircraft for ten years after a large number of outsourced and poorly managed suppliers.

Since NMA is the only brand new aircraft being developed by Boeing or Airbus, the company is eager to participate. This gives Boeing the opportunity to enter into new contract terms with major suppliers such as Spirit AeroSystems Holdings Inc. and United Technologies Corporation.

Credit Suisse Group analyst Robert Spingarn said: "You have a new piece of clay, and you can try things you have never tried before, because you don't have to undo the old deals."

The 797 will complement another Boeing initiative to carry out more work internally, from luxury seats to auxiliary power units. This gives Boeing the right to sell spare parts for these components during the 30-year commercial life of the jet. After Muilenburg launched the division last year, Deal's team focused on growth and tripled revenue to $50 billion in ten years.

"Designing an aircraft for lifecycle management means you fundamentally reorganize content from suppliers to provide you with more after-sales royalties," Kevin Michael, managing director, AeroDynamic Advisory, Ann Arbor, Michigan Said.

Deere said that Boeing will continue to look for opportunities to do more work under its own roof. The company pays particular attention to the airline’s “major pain points”, such as severely delayed premium seats, and the creation of “a more durable design and development ecosystem to reduce product risks”.

Michaels believes that Boeing may expand its control over landing gear, engine hoods and other components - and may even require a share of the so-called aftermarket for the engine itself. However, this strategy comes with risks, because Boeing is taking on more manufacturing costs previously borne by suppliers.

Aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia said: "If you want to build the world's cheapest jet aircraft on a per seat basis, then vertical integration is really not a viable method." "These It is now a cost center, which brings its own risk sharing-and losses."

See also: Airbus launches its "new" series of aircraft, the A220s

See also: Long-distance flight? This is the plane you should be looking for